This Sunday, January 7, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, also titled “the manifestation of the Lord.” During this Christmas Season (which concludes with the Baptism of the Lord, January 8 this year), we recall on the Epiphany when God’s eternal plan of Salvation was revealed to the whole world (represented by the three Magi visiting the manger). As we seek God’s mercy and forgiveness and listen to His Word during Mass, let us join the Magi who came before the Lord bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12) – that we would be more conscious of praising, thanking, loving and adoring God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not so much with material goods, but with our very life, in faith, hope and love, centered in His gift of the Holy Eucharist.
When the King of Heaven was born, a very prideful and earthly king named Herod was alarmed. Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) has said that earthly pride is undoubtedly alarmed when heavenly eminence is made manifest. In fact, to this day, we often see leaders of nations attack Christianity and Christians because they see them as a threat to their power – such earthly leaders remain hard of heart. No such earthly ruler guided the Magi or the shepherds – rather, God guided them with one of His stars and angels. Nevertheless, with all the signs from God, manifested from our Lord’s birth to His death and Resurrection, many people to this day remain hard of heart. They refuse to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “In truth, all the elements bore witness that their Creator had come,” says Pope Saint Gregory the Great. “Indeed, to speak of them in a human way, the heavens knew that He was God because they immediately sent forth a star; the sea knew Him because it allowed Him to walk upon it; the earth knew Him because it trembled when He died; the sun knew Him because it hid the rays of its light; the stones and walls of houses knew Him because they were broken at the time of His death; the lower world recognized Him because it gave up the dead it was holding; and yet some hearts remained full of unbelief, and did not know that He was God, although all the dumb elements perceived Him as Lord!”
As brothers and sisters in Christ, may our hearts and minds always be filled with faith. May we be always open to the grace of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to live His virtues of faith, hope and love. May we be His witnesses in the world, instruments of His love and mercy for all whom we encounter and so as to lead them to Jesus Christ. The Epiphany begs belief from us so that we, like the Magi, will be led home by another way, the Way of Love, from the wood of the Crib to the wood of the Cross, the Way of Our Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, the Only Savior of the world.
With peace and prayers for a blessed and joyous New Year in Christ,